25 Apr The fortune of freelancing
Sounds perfect, doesn’t it? Managing your own time, being in control of the projects that come your way, working from home being surrounded by all the things that comfort you. Minimal office time, listening to music that inspires and motivates you (or enjoying the silence – whatever you need at that point in time). And yes, freelancing is all of these things – and more. I often wonder why I didn’t switch to self-employment sooner, but it is a financial risk; if your money management skills are on point though, you shouldn’t have much of a problem.
Almost 8 years ago, I decided I would never work in another corporate marketing environment ever again. In fact, in my head, I had given up work as I know it altogether. I was pregnant with my first son, and the stress of a corporate role in B2B marketing wore heavy on me. The day I finished a contract with a well-known consumer tech brand and I walked out of that office in Chertsey, Surrey at 30 weeks pregnant, it was clear to me that my life would take a different direction from then on. And it did – but in a way I could never imagine.
Once my son was born in 2011, I was thrown into the rollercoaster that is ‘first time parenthood’. Now, I’ve had some tough jobs in my 20 year career, but parenting is on another level. I loved it (still do!) but I hankered for part of my old life back, something a lot of parents feel after their first baby, or so I was told afterwards. So, when I was contacted out of the blue from a supplier I’d worked with previously (who would then become my first client), I jumped at the chance. I had two afternoons a week child-free where I’d work for my new client, and it grew from there. My confidence sky-rocketed, I won more clients and felt so empowered to claim back some of my identity. I hit some health issues during 2015-2016 so life slowed down a little for a while. I was also moving house (to our dream forever home!) so I was glad of the little break – I needed it. That’s the beauty with freelancing – although you aren’t paid for time off (and having to give clients away almost broke my heart), the flexibility it provided at that point in my life is something I don’t think many other PAYE roles would have offered.
I’ve learned so much in the last 2 years of my freelancing journey than I have in all 8; the most important lesson? Learning the power of saying ‘no’. I am (and always have been) a ‘yes’ person – a people pleaser, saying ‘yes’ to everything at my own expense. Only recently have I learned that I (and my husband) are the world to my two boys, so I owe it to them to look after myself to be the best mum I can be. Sometimes that means turning down work which I don’t have capacity for; it hurts so bad but it really is for the best!
I couldn’t live without meditation, guided and otherwise – and practising mindful breathing. Every single day. Multiple times! My guitar sits next to my desk which I pick up every now and then when my brain needs a rest, and exercise is also a huge part of my life. Without all of these things, I don’t think I’d lead as healthy and balanced a life as I do now. As a freelancer, it’s so easy to get sucked in and work all the hours in the day and burn out really quickly. My coach recently taught me the importance of setting aside one hour every day to focus on myself. This is something I’ve never done before and as a result, I am more productive, I’m firing out RED HOT content left, right and centre and I’m benefitting from ultimate job satisfaction. And the best thing of all? My clients are happy as well as me – what more could you want in a job?
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